Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Don't forget Ludlow, Columbine

The good thing about this date in history is that it's not April 19.

Yesterday, just happened to be the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, which came two years to the day after the Branch Davidian disaster in the appropriately named Waco, Texas. It's worth noting that Oklahoma and Texas are states where extreme right-wing nuttery is tolerated and even encouraged.

Also, April 19 was the anniversary of the start of our Revolutionary War in 1775.

To celebrate all these disparate events, the gun nuts staged "gun-ins" in Virginia and Washington, D.C. Yeah, that's the central problem in America today: not enough people openly carrying their weapons in public. Who knew?

I'm surprised they didn't wait until today, the 11th anniversary of the Columbine Massacre, when a couple of pyscho students gunned down 12 fellow students and a teacher in Colorado. That way they could show how effective firearms are at school and why we need more of them. (They missed their chance on April 16, the anniversary of the Virginia Tech Massacre, when a long gunman murdered 32.)

Yes, April 20th is another red letter day in history.

Adolf Hitler was born on this day in 1889. It's also national stoner day.

April is indeed the "cruellest month."

In 1914, in Ludlow, Colo., dozens of men, women and children were killed amid a coal miner's strike. Two women and 11 children were asphyxiated and burned to death on April 20 in one of the worst attacks by capitalists against workers.

The mine was owned by the Rockefellers, and John D., Jr. spent much of the rest of his life atoning for the sin of Ludlow, which is now a ghost town.

Such events as Ludlow are barely mentioned in history books. Another one unknown to most Americans occurred on March 25, 1911. It was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, where 146 young immigrant workers, mostly Italian, perished, many jumping to their deaths to flee the flames.

The owners had locked the doors to keep the girls and women working. When the fire broke out there was no escape and the fire department was of little help since its ladders couldn't reach beyond the sixth floor and the fire was concentrated on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors.

Horrific events like the Ludlow Massacre and Triangle fire led to many reforms enacted under FDR in the 1930s.

Such reforms are constantly under attack. The recent mining disaster in West Virginia, where 29 perished, is a prime example of how mine owners do not care about the lives of workers. Lack of government oversight has also led to an increase of "black lung" disease.

And yet, we have this bogus Tea Party whining about government intervention in private enterprise. These fools don't realize that the enemy of the people is not likely the government, but the very company they work for or used to work for.

So let's remember April 19 for the worst domestic terrorist attack in our history performed by extreme right-wingers.

But, let's not forget the Ludlow Massacre today. It, too, was a terrorist attack carried out by company bosses of yesteryear.

No comments:

Post a Comment